The Pembrokeshire Murders: Is the ITV drama based on a true story?

11 January 2021, 20:22

The Pembrokeshire Murders is based on a true story
The Pembrokeshire Murders is based on a true story. Picture: ITV

Where is John Cooper now and what happened to Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins?

The Pembrokeshire Murders is airing on ITV this week, which tells the true story of serial killer John Cooper.

The scripts are adapted from a book by police detective Steve Wilkins and ITV journalist Jonathan Hill, both of whom played a key role in the case.

But is The Pembrokeshire Murders true and what happened the John Cooper?

Is The Pembrokeshire Murders based on a true story?

Although some of the events might seem far-fetched, the series sticks very close to the truth.

Keith Allen plays John Cooper in The Pembrokeshire Murders
Keith Allen plays John Cooper in The Pembrokeshire Murders. Picture: ITV

It is based on two murders carried out it the Eighties in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.

20 years on from the shocking crimes, Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins - played by Luke Evans - reassessed the cold case and finally brought John Cooper to justice.

The three-part drama follows the events which led to the conviction of Cooper in 2011.

What happened to Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins?

Mr Wilkins now lives back in his native Cheshire with his family and was a big part of creating the ITV series.

He has said he was impressed by Luke Evans and the rest of the cast.

Steve Wilkins was involved in the creation of The Pembrokeshire Murders
Steve Wilkins was involved in the creation of The Pembrokeshire Murders. Picture: ITV

"I cannot speak too highly of their understanding, sensitivity and professionalism and commitment to getting it right,” he said.

"They quickly understood that they were depicting real people, many who are still carrying the scars."

He went on to say: "Luke wanted to know the detail of the investigation, how I would do and say things and why certain decisions were made.

"He wanted to know about the victims and their families as he really cares.

Before adding: "It is very difficult to squeeze six years into three episodes, but in doing so, we agreed red lines which must not be crossed... and that has been achieved."

Where is John Cooper now?

Cooper, a diagnosed psychopath, was eventually convicted in 2011 for the double murders of Richard and Helen Thomas, and Peter and Gwenda Dixon.

He unsuccessfully tried to appeal his convictions in September 2011 and the 76-year-old is still behind bars in an undisclosed prison.